KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs’ top rookie isn’t hard to figure out many years, but the team had a tough choice in awarding the Mack Lee Hill Rookie of the Year Award for the 2021 season.
Linebacker Nick Bolton, a second-round pick from Mizzou, led the Chiefs in tackles last season, but center Creed Humphrey, a second-round pick from Oklahoma, and right guard Trey Smith, a sixth-round pick from Tennessee, solidified an offensive line that underwent a wholesale makeover after the Super Bowl LV loss.
Kansas City announced Tuesday that Bolton had been selected for the honor.
Congratulations to this year's Mack Lee Hill Rookie of the Year Award winner, Nick Bolton! 👏 pic.twitter.com/pzPof3Jf4t— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 15, 2022
Bolton appeared in 16 games, making 12 starts in 2021. He tallied 112 total tackles, including 70 solo tackles, with 11 tackles for a loss.
He also defended three passes and returned a fumble 86 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the regular-season finale at Denver.
Humphrey, who started all 17 games last season, finished third in the AP’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting behind the winner, Cincinnati wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and New England quarterback Mac Jones.
Smith also started all 17 games for Kansas City, which appears set on the interior offensive line for the foreseeable future with Humphrey and Smith joined by veteran left guard Joe Thuney.
The awards are voted on by Chiefs players.